Teen Weighs in on Black Lives Matter

by Sarah Paulus

After trying to write this column for two weeks, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no way to write about the disease that our country, our world, has been suffering from without offending someone. I’m not referring the COVID-19 pandemic, but the deadly disease that is racism.

I live and have lived in Hillsboro for almost nine years now. I’ve loved living here and it’s always been a safe place to call home. And although it is not immune to racism and it still occurs, even here, it happens a lot less often and it’s a lot less severe. Because of this, it’s made it hard for us, at least for me, to grasp the full extent of what’s been going on and easy to not talk about it.

But if you watch the news or read what’s been posted online, you’ll see how real and serious what’s been going on really is. People are dying, every day, just because of the color of their skin. A lot of them have been innocent or facing only minor charges. Yet so many people have been defending the cops involved and villainizing the victims.

It really baffles me. People are trying to justify murder. And maybe it’s because racism scares them and makes them uncomfortable, but people will do whatever they can to convince themselves and everyone around them that it’s not happening. But it is.

A lot of people I’ve talked to that aren’t in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have said that it is because they have a problem with the rioting. And I understand that. As a Christian who grew up going to church, I’ve been taught from the beginning that violence is wrong. But I have also been taught for as long as I remember to stand up for people who are oppressed.

So no, I don’t approve of the rioting but I also don’t approve of persecution and if we would have defended and stood up for people of color in the first place, it wouldn’t have had to come this far. We need to fix the problem, which is racism if we are against the rioting, not continue to blame and oppress black people.

But also, I don’t think you can use the argument of “violence is wrong” when it comes to the riots and then defend the police and justify their actions. If burning buildings and looting is violent enough to be against the movement, then I’m pretty sure that makes murder unforgivable.

The truth is, our country as a whole has failed people of color and the sooner we can admit that and come together, the sooner we can fix our mistakes. And I don’t care what your political beliefs are, we need to do better. Because at the end of the day, racism isn’t political. Equality shouldn’t be up for debate at this point anymore, it’s a basic human right.